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> Preserving this Music forever..., Is there anything being done?
gregoryagogo
post Jun 14 2006, 08:18 PM
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I'm sure there is already things in place to preserve this music for ever. I'm wondering if Dismuke and other key websites have a plan to keep their websites going after they are no longer here.

Does any one know of any organizations that are cataloging, and preserving actual records for historical sake? If there isn't any, we should all get together and create one!

I would love to be involved! I would donate records, time and money to an organization that would continue long after we all are gone. Maybe it could be some kind of museum of recording technology, along with exibits of dance and fads from different eras, through their connection to records.

It's great to love this music, and filling my computer with digital files of the old recordings, but I hope all my love and energy for the old records won't die with me!

I would love to see a "public" or "National" record collection where there could be an actual real record of every song ever recorded!

What are your thoughts?

Gregory May


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Aaron2006
post Jun 14 2006, 08:29 PM
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Hopefully by the 2020's a craze for the 1920's will come back. I feel more sad though when I hear that someone from the era has died. Each day the list of flappers gets shorter and shorter.
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Doc Savage
post Jun 14 2006, 09:04 PM
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I'm absolutely all for it. I don't think it will ever die out, and here's wishing, as Aaron has mentioned, that there will be a resurgence of this great era's cultural zeitgeist on its centennial. There probably are certain levels of preservation within the US (you would think) ,given that there is one for Film Preservation, but as far as a more cohesive , organized structure , I wouldn't know off-hand. I'm sure at least one of the Retro-Deco-Audiophiles here would know of one(?)....anyone?


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victrolajazz
post Jun 14 2006, 09:49 PM
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Thanks, Gregory, for starting the topic! Several weeks ago I thought about starting a new topic and calling it Will Anyone Still Listen to 20's-30's Music 300 Years from Now, but you ran with it!

Technologies change so fast now it's unfathomable what will happen over a 100-200 year period--it seems that every 20's-30's record ever pressed could exist in some digitilized, or now unimagined, form even 300 years from now. With the passage of long intervals of time, so many cultural changes and fads pile upon one another, it's questionable if anyone 300 years from now would care--altho I would hope so. I've also wondered if over a 300 year period, the compositions of DeSylva/Brown/Henderson, Gus Kahn, Walter Donaldson, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and all the other greats of that era would attain the status and staying power enjoyed by the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, et al., become that era's "Classical" music. Can you imagine tuxedoed/evening-gowned people filling concert halls in 2325 to hear orchestral renderings of "Yes Sir! That's My Baby", "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue", and tapping their feet in happy wonderment at the wonderful music that existed lo those many centuries ago...

Eddie the Collector
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gregoryagogo
post Jun 14 2006, 10:05 PM
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It looks to me, that the future of preserving lies in individual collectors. What happends when they die?

I have a will, and I instructed my mother to contact this board to give my records away. I want to pass along the records to people who will respect them and save them and love them.

I'm hoping Dismuke has a plan so this site lasts generations. Also, I hope there can be a group of us or an organization that can unite us all toether and utilize all our energies.

Gregory wink.gif


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victrolajazz
post Jun 15 2006, 12:03 AM
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QUOTE(gregoryagogo @ Jun 14 2006, 04:05 PM)
It looks to me, that the future of preserving lies in individual collectors.  What happends when they die?

I have a will, and I instructed my mother to contact this board to give my records away.  I want to pass along the records to people who will respect them and save them and love them. 

I'm hoping Dismuke has a plan so this site lasts generations.  Also, I hope there can be a group of us or an organization that can unite us all toether and utilize all our energies. 

Gregory wink.gif

That, to me, is the really critical thing--what will happen to all the records over a long period of time, as it's the records I really treasure, as much or more than the sounds. (Un)fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we are the only ones who can have an immediate effect on their fate. Again, you anticipated me--before I posted, I'd written a long dissertation about the importance of providing for the records in a will, then deleted it as it wound on and on like a Victrola--you said it much more simply and effectively. It's absolutely critical that those of us in our 60s and older, who probably have no more than 25-30 years to live, provide for legal transferance when the inevitable event arises. It's also incumbent upon younger people like Gregory, as he has, to make provision in case of premature departure. In the case of large and extremely valuable collections, a transfer to another relative before death may be desirable to avoid a large tax upon a fairly non-liquid asset. My uncle, judged to have had the largest spur collection in the country, if not the world, deeded his collection to his oldest son about two years before his death--the same principle can apply to a record collection.

Beyond our current generation, there's little we can do for the long haul. There's going to be a certain amount of attrition due to accidents, natural disasters, neglect--ensuring that the surviving discs will grow more and more valuable with the passage of time--the newest ones are already nearly 80 years old. Imagine a 300 year old Paul Whiteman acoustical being worth $10,000! Collections will be assembled over 35-45 year periods, then re-dispersed as time takes its toll. I'm content with the idea that some members here in their 20's or 30's will be listening to my records 30 years from now. As for 300 years from now, if the actual record still exists, all one will need is a needle connected to a sound box and a turntable to listen to it--hang technology!

Eddie the Collector
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Ian House
post Jun 15 2006, 01:30 AM
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Great subject! Thanks for starting it...

Unlike Eddie, the physical shellac is not as important to me than the music it holds (except to say: the physical 78s need to be preserved for future transfer technologies unknown to us today)... And, in the unlikely event that these recordings ever get "lost", the music itself will live on forever. This music is well represented in other forms -such as the vintage Warner Bros. cartoons which will NEVER become extinct due to their commercial popularity, profitability and universal exposure. Therefore, a tune like "The Lady In Red" , for example, will follow mankind through the next two thousand years thanks, in large part, to those cartoons...

Although I do not collect 78s, I do collect vintage consumer packaging from the same time period -so I can relate to Eddie the Collector in regard to his passion for the physical specimen (...except, for me, it's more of a thrill to own a carton of 24 unopened 5 cent Oh Henry! bars from 1947, or a pristine Eskimo Pie box from 1927)

But here's my dilemma -and my question to all collectors here: ARE WE DESTROYING THESE ITEMS BY COLLECTING THEM?? Every time a 78 or an Eskimo Pie carton is swapped on eBay or traded at a show, an auction or an estate sale, it becomes manhandled and degraded in some small degree. After a few more generations of such circulation, what will be left of these cultural artifacts? Don't get me wrong - I think these articles need to be enjoyed by the public and not filed away somewhere forever... but I think that a museum setting would be more appropriate, perhaps, for our "collectable" past. We need to put a halt to the constant handling that occurs in the collectors circuit. My point is proven every time someone receives a broken 78 from an eBay dealer... and just how many times does that happen each and every day...?

Or, even better, every specimen should be documented and displayed (or mp3'd) on a website while the original is stored safely away. Perhaps such preservation websites (Dismuke, RedHotJazz, The American Package Museum, etc) could qualify for being mirrored and maintained by a government institution (the Library of Congress?) so that they would continue online after the creator has passed on.

Another question: Just what qualifies something to be considered as a museum piece? That seems a little subjective to me...

Lots of rambling thoughts.

Ian


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Andy Senior
post Jun 15 2006, 01:33 AM
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QUOTE
Beyond our current generation, there's little we can do for the long haul. There's going to be a certain amount of attrition due to accidents, natural disasters, neglect--ensuring that the surviving discs will grow more and more valuable with the passage of time--the newest ones are already nearly 80 years old. Imagine a 300 year old Paul Whiteman acoustical being worth $10,000! Collections will be assembled over 35-45 year periods, then re-dispersed as time takes its toll. I'm content with the idea that some members here in their 20's or 30's will be listening to my records 30 years from now. As for 300 years from now, if the actual record still exists, all one will need is a needle connected to a sound box and a turntable to listen to it--hang technology!


My view is even slightly more dismal, if possible. Looking back on the history of the world over the past several millennia, the only way this music will survive beyond the next few centuries will be as a fluke. The great libraries of the ancient world were all burned to the ground by fundamentalists of various stripes. The classics survived only by the fact that a few monasteries preserved them. Other artefacts lasted only because they were buried (as with King Tut-Ankh-Amen). As it is, I feel we are pitching back into the Dark Ages with increasing velocity. NATURAL disasters may be the least of our worries.

Could we convince the monasteries of today to treat our jazz and hot dance 78s as sacred relics? (That's how I see mine, at any rate.) Or should we just find a likely selection of fine discs and seal them off in a salt mine somewhere (a temperature-stable, humidity controlled environment) with a few examples of acoustic disc players and PLENTY of fresh needles? Or, would our ignorant decendents burn such treasures upon discovery as obvious works of the Devil?

That's assuming humanity doesn't manage to kill itself off one way or another in the interim. (As far as I'm concerned, this music is one of the very few reasons humanity deserves to survive!)
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birdible
post Jun 15 2006, 03:12 AM
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I think that some of the music will be preserved. Nowadays it's not hard to make an mp3 file and then save to hard drive or burn it to a CD. With care we would be able to keep them preserved for many years. Whether anyone's going to care in 300 years I dunno. I feel that the popularity is increasing in that style of music(at least I feel it is). With rap becoming the dominant music many people are turning to jazz and country/blues to fill the music gap. 300 years I most likely will not be alive, but the music will somehow be preserved. I'm nowhere near as dismal feeling as the previous post.

It wouldn't be hard for someone to start a foundation or some organization to archive it all, or at least attempt to archive it all. I would donate time or money if able.
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pictureroll
post Jun 15 2006, 03:36 AM
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I went to High School in the late 50's/early 60's and was VERY much in the minority with my love of 20's & 30's music. I well remember bringing a Waring record to school to play for my choir teacher,as we had done a Fred Waring choir arrangement of Battle Hymn.
I just couldn't believe he went back that far.
I was devastated when she said "that is the ugliest thing I have ever heard". The record was his "Little Peach", the other side is"Swanee Butterfly" Victor 19636.
I think the popularity is somewhat greater today than it was then mabye because of CD's.
I don't yet know who I will leave my collection to, but I know it will not be to a college or university, it will be to some person.
Actually, as much as we love the music, once we go to sleep it won't much matter anyway.
Cheers
Jerry F Bacon


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tferbe
post Jun 15 2006, 03:52 AM
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I do believe that several universities in the U.S. and elswhere do archive much of this great historical medium. I have come across them while doing searches. I have also heard of a phonograph museum that recently opened in Deleware. I will get there before the summer is over.
On a small scale, I consider myself to be an archivist or conservator of these precious items of days gone by. When I find a few old records in a thrift store or flea market I almost feel as if I am saving their lives because they would almost certainly be broken in a short time from being mishandled or improper storage.
Yes, I know I am a collector but when I get a new (old) record it is thoroughly cleaned and placed in an acid free envelope and properly stored in an upright position for the sake of preservation. Most of my records are not very valuable monatarilly but are precious snippets of days gone by, never to return. I thankfully have two sons who both have a respect and appreciation for these relics and hopefully one or both will continue my efforts.
I have often thought that if I ever had the resources I would create a place where people could go to listen to old music and read stories from actuall original sources. Where people of like minds could meet. There is nothing more satisfying to a collector than the opportunity to share his or her collection with others. Alas that's just a pipe dream while I still have problems paying my rent but it's still fun to think about.
When I check out that museum in Deleware I'll take lots of pictures and give a full reort here. rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif rolleyes.gif
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Ian House
post Jun 15 2006, 04:07 AM
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QUOTE(tferbe @ Jun 14 2006, 09:52 PM)
Yes, I know I am a collector but when I get a new (old) record it is thoroughly cleaned and placed in an acid free envelope and properly stored in an upright position for the sake of preservation.

Ted,

You are a credit to the hobby :-) ... I like to think that I am saving some of our consumer heritage with my own collection. And, like yourself, I take that responsibility seriously. It's great to know that you have your sons to continue the preservation initiative...


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matto
post Jun 15 2006, 04:20 AM
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Actually, I think this music will be around for many years to come. Keep in mind that the vast majority of original 78's from the 1920's have already been distroyed. Many were regarded as junk just 10 or so years after initial release. Many were melted down for the shellac rashioning time during WWII. A vastly larger group we're simply thrown away.

What survives now is due to pack-rats and serious record collectors. While the records in the hands of pack-rats today probably have an equal chance of falling into the hands of collectors or being thrown away, records in the hands of collectors have a high chance of survival. Many collectors sell duplicate copies while they are actively collecting at record shows, auction lists and ebay (I do myself). When record collectiors get older or pass on, they bequeath their records to other record collectors or sell them (or leave instructions to sell them). This ensures that these records stay in the hands of knowledgable and careful collectors! As far as the hazards of shipping records, most (if not all) knowledgable record collectors and dealers know how to pack records. I've sent over 500 records via usps and only one has arrived broken and one lost.
Ebay also makes records available to a world wide market and therefore more likely to be preserved.
For example, if a pack-rat in Texas decides she wants to get rid of granny's records she's not as likely to throw them in the trash as in the past. For 35 cents she can put the album book up on ebay and try to sell it.
I once recieved a very rare Victor Scroll 78 by Cecil Scott and his Bright Boys in mint condition, sold in a album group, from a person who was "cleaning out their closet".

What I plan to do with my collection when I get older / die is to bequeath it to a younger collector (in part or whole) OR sell it in a record auction. I have instructions for my family that if anything happens to me to call a certain prominant auction house in Texas and get as much as they can for the records. I know that if someone pays top doller for a record from a reputable 78rpm auction house, the record will be safe for quite a while. When I get older and / or of ill health, I plan to give (at least part of) my collection away. I was a recipient of such a grand gesture from a colector about eight years ago. He gave his collection away to a few record collector friends when he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

I know I would NEVER donate my collection to an archive or university library. Unless your collection is cataloged and you include some cash (to defray storage costs) your records are likely to be sold to who knows ! I once found some 78's in a junk shop with an SMU archive label attached to the sleeve !

The bottom line is that the best way to preserve your records for future generations is to care for them properly and to be sure that they will go to someone who appriciates them (be it a bequest or auction sale).

One final thought, current digital technology paints a bright picture for the survival of this music, as it makes it more widely available. Thus, more people are introduced to it and can be appreciative !
Matt


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Andy Senior
post Jun 15 2006, 04:34 AM
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QUOTE
I went to High School in the late 50's/early 60's and was VERY much in the minority with my love of 20's & 30's music. I well remember bringing a Waring record to school to play for my choir teacher,as we had done a Fred Waring choir arrangement of Battle Hymn.
I just couldn't believe he went back that far.
I was devastated when she said "that is the ugliest thing I have ever heard". The record was his "Little Peach", the other side is"Swanee Butterfly" Victor 19636.
I think the popularity is somewhat greater today than it was then mabye because of CD's.
I don't yet know who I will leave my collection to, but I know it will not be to a college or university, it will be to some person.


Teachers can be so cruel! Seriously, I think it is through dedicated collectors that this music prospers at all these days. The record companies (all two of 'em) who own the rights to the originals aren't terribly sentimental and would much rather push the flavor of the month. I've been fighting the battle to get this music out there my whole life, was relentlessly ridiculed as a young person for even liking it, and I do think at the moment (thanks to the internet, mainly) it is reaching a greater audience than at any time other than during its first flowering.

The most stable form for these recordings to take is their orginal shellac analog one. I'm not optimistic enough to believe that the internet will last forever, or that digital formats are anything but ephemeral. We (and those who follow us) need to preserve the originals so that every time there is a change of format we can hear the originals as if for the first time. A multi-pronged plan is called for. Collectors are entitled to the discs, because they love them and will keep the music alive in the here and now--and will reissue and disseminate it in whatever format prevails. Academic collections might be good for preserving things over a longer period, even though certain academic types tend to deconstruct and analyze everything to death. And I still think that it wouldn't hurt to put some records (even the more common ones) in a real vault somewhere so that they might exist thousands of years from now.

If you've got three pristine copies of "Glorianna" keep one to pass on to a collector, donate the second to a University or Museum collection, and put the third in a hermetically sealed secure container deep in the Earth so that future generations may begin to understand our joy.
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Andy Senior
post Jun 15 2006, 04:38 AM
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QUOTE
I know I would NEVER donate my collection to an archive or university library. Unless your collection is cataloged and you include some cash (to defray storage costs) your records are likely to be sold to who knows ! I once found some 78's in a junk shop with an SMU archive label attached to the sleeve !


So much for academics!!
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